17 December 2008

Dress Rescue Help

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One of my favorite vintage stores here in town is closing its doors at the end of the month. I'm sad to see it go because it's one of those shops that I can go into and spend hours digging through piles of sewing notions, boxes of old photographs and racks of vintage clothes. There's even a closet in the back that's stacked to the ceiling with vintage hats boxes. In other words, it's a little bit of heaven. Every time I've gone in to snoop around I've eyed this 40's brown velvet Jonathan Logan dress but it was priced a bit more than I wanted to pay. Since the shop is closing and everything is on discount, it was the perfect time to pick it up. When I went to try it on, I discovered to my dismay that the side zipper was stubbornly stuck and some of the teeth were missing. There's also a splotch of white paint on the front of the dress near the bottom hem. Well, despite its flaws I decided to take it home anyway. I figured it was worth trying to rescue.

First I took out the side zipper which was easy enough. I've already begun replacing it with one I had lying around. I was able to try it on and it's a perfect fit which was a relief since I couldnt try it before bringing it home. Now, here's where I need help. The white paint spot on the front of the dress is about 6 inches from the hem. I've tried to remove it but it just takes the nap of the velvet right off with it leaving a bare spot. So... I'm left with two options: leave it as is and just deal with the paint spot or cut off about 6 inches from the bottom and rehem the dress. Right now the skirt portion is about 28 inches long and falls completely below my knee. If I rehemmed it, it would be about 22 inches long and fall right above my knee. I would also use the extra fabric from the hem to make a belt since the original one is missing.

On one hand, it would be nice to get rid of that paint spot but on the other hand it always seem such sacrilege to cut into a vintage dress. What should I do? You can vote in the upper right corner. Thanks for your help!

42 comments:

Simone said...

I say go for it, it would look great on you with your legs.

lovvelly lottiiee said...

it would look so much nicer
do it!
most would alter it anyway to bring it into the modern world
do it well my friend
good luck!

yasemin said...

The belt makes the act reasonable!go for it:)

K.B. said...

it'll look great with a belt! i voted go for it!

deedoubleyou said...

id say leave it for a bit, try cover up the spot (brown marker? ha its a quick fix but im not sure what else you could do) then see if you wear it. if you dont after a while, or the spot still really bothers you, hem it up! then maybe you can have the best of both worlds...

Diana said...

well, you know what they say...velvet once stained is never the same. i say cut it!

AlicePleasance said...

I don't wear too short dresses, but a right above the knee lenght is a great one so I say go for it!

Nita-Karoliina said...

i hate it when shops you like get closed..

smokingcigarettes said...

Have you thought about putting a series of patches or appliques in a pleasing aesthetic manner? Or maybe doing some embroidery (leaves and flowers or something)? I hope you can get it to work out! Oh! Maybe get some white fabric paint and painting a pretty design!

kater said...

Oh I am so sad to hear such a great place is going! Hopefully you will be able to grab some treasures :D

I say hem it. For someone who wears vintage regularly, it is more important to alter it--especially if the alteration is to make it more wearable/something practical--so that it gets wear rather than sits and is neglected.

Amelia said...

That dress looks gorgeous. I'd say cut it.

white lightning said...

CUT IT. you'll wear it more, it will be so sick. make a belt and a giant ass head bow out of the extra velvet. DOOO IT.

pigeon.toed said...

I say hem, hem, hem away! The new hemline will make it more modern and you will be more inclined to wear it knowing there isn't a big, white paint stain on it! Bonus: you get a belt out of it!

Isabel said...

Cut it!

anja louise said...

I think you should hem it too! Funny, I have a Jonathan Logan velvet dress that needs some work too. New zipper and some cleaning!

Aliena said...

I'd say go for it!!! I'm really looking forward to see you in it!

alixrose said...

I said to go for it because if it was me, I would not wear it because of the paint or be self-conscious about it.. and that would be a shame. If you hem it, it would get more love.

Also, I was showing my mom the dress and she gasped because she said she used to wear nothing but Jonathan Logan when she was dating my dad, early 70's. She loved his dresses. It took her back and she became all smiley, it was sweet.

duckrabbit said...

What's the name of the vintage store that's closing? I hope it's not mamalicious!

Sally Jane said...

Thanks so much for all of your comments so far. I think this is really helping me with my decision.

Duckrabbit: No, thank goodness it's not Mamalicious! It's S&R Antiques (on the same block as Mamalicious, just a bit north). If you haven't visited it, you should if you get a chance before the end of the month. She keeps odd hours and usually closes pretty early but it's worth it.

liss said...

If you really are torn up about cutting it take a small bauble of some sort (felt flower, buttons, etc.) and cover up the spot. Embellish somewhere else just so it isn't super obvious.

Another option (or one you can do in tandem) would be to wear the dress a few times, if you find yourself constantly bothered by the spot it's totally worth it to cut it. Wear it with a funky slip or tights - plus you'll have a cool belt!

archivingfashion said...

Personally, I would cut the dress. Imagine how chic that would look with gray or black tights!
However, you will always have to wear tights underneath because it's going to be quite short...
Good Luck!
Halie
Great blog, by the way! I linked you :)

copperoranges said...

i dont understand why people think it's so bad to cut into vintage! clothes, no matter how old, are meant to be worn!

;)

Piia said...

I used to think that all old things are too valuable to be altered in any way. However, after having worked in a couple of museums and studying museology, I've realized, that you can't save everything, and every old item does not have a museum value (in a way that it was relevant to save the item for the future genrations).

Vintage clothes are wonderful and many times work best unaltered. However, they are not sacred. Like previous commenters have said, by altering vintage clothing you can sometimes prolong their life span, and I think that's a vital point. Of course, with clothing that has som kind of emotion value (like grandmom's wedding dress etc.) it's a whole different story.

With this case, I wouldn't consider it to be a crime to alter the dress. It could look really cool.

Emma said...

so it. what's the point in havin g adress if you can't wear it or you wear it and you're not completel happy with it. i never understand why people don't want to alter vintage dresses - everything is changing always ;)

Eyeliah @ stylesymmetry.com said...

I say... snip snip!

Hannah said...

Definitely go for it. It's only fabric and it'll only end up at the back of your wardrobe (or worse in the bin!) if you don't wear it. You're so good with your projects, it always takes me weeks to get around to doing things!

svenskaussie said...

Definitely cut it. You look great in mini dresses and it will make it look really modern. Go for it !

Frances Baker said...

I would cut it, I think its ok to updat evintage if you will get more use out of it, and it certainly would look lovely with a belt!

Anonymous said...

Would it look OK if you added a trim to cover it up?

Tara said...

I wouldn't mind the paint stain - one of the quirks of vintage clothes. However, I think that it would probably look cuter shorter anyway - it would be less dressy. So I would hem it.

Amaida said...

To echo what smokingcigarettes said, why not look for some pretty ornamental ribbon to sew over the hem and cover up the white spot? maybe something with gold in it...

crispybenfranklin said...

It's one thing to chop up a mint vintage dress, but one with a stain? I say hem it.

Kelley said...

You could try adding a ribbon around the dress parallel to the hem, at a level designed to strategically cover the spot.

Juliet said...

I love the "mistakes" and "errors" in my vintage, but if it bothers you I think you should take the hemline up, it'll be on much better use when you are satisfied with it.

juliet xxx

indigorchid said...

The very good point has been made - will you wear it more if you rehem it? I guess that's what it comes down to.

Another thing to try might be to find a suitable type and color of paint, to simply cover the spot and hope it goes mostly unnoticed.

Anonymous said...

Hello-I've followed your blog for a little while now, however without one of my own. I can't help but ask, since I also live in Lancaster Cty (Ephrata), which store is closing its doors? I wasn't informed of such blasphemy!

Couture Allure Vintage Fashion said...

I see this has already been mentioned a couple of times. Buy a ribbon that is wide enough to cover the paint spot and sew it all the way around the skirt 6" up. You could use a matching brown satin or grosgrain ribbon, or you could buy ribbon in a contrasting color. Black or pink would be pretty. Then you won't have to cut it and the paint spot will disappear! You could also use ric-rac or braid. But I say, don't cut it!

Anonymous said...

I didn't read all the comments, but you might consider embroidery over the spot. Tone on tone isn't very noticible, but adds a classy look and covers the spot.

Market Publique said...

I don't understand the big sacrilege of hemming vintage clothes. I'm 5'1" so it would be more of a sacrilege not to hem my clothes and go out looking like a big dork. And unless the paint is intentional, stained dresses don't look as good as non-stained dresses.
The sacrilege is really having clothes that you can't/won't wear because they don't fit, or have a stain or a hole, etc. I say go for it!

Shay said...

yeah if it has paint on it anyways, whatever. One thing people never bring up is that women were constantly making over their dresses back in the day when everyone could so, I don't see why that should change now!!

elizabeth said...

I know I'm daaays late. But couldn't you applique something pretty over it?

Anonymous said...

I've always felt that cutting a vintage dress ruins the integrity of it. But you know...everyone's doing it. Down the road, when the dress is 100 years old, nothing will be interesting about it if it's made into a mini.